Monday, November 1, 2010

"Athens of the South"

Last weekend some of my friends came up for the South Carolina/Vandy football game.  Since it was a night game, we decided to take advantage of the beautiful day and go to Centennial Park. 
On the steps of the Parthenon in Nashville, TN.
As we were walking around, my friend Andy (to the left of me in the picture) informed me that Nashville is known as the "Athens of the South".....I had no idea...and since I live here now, I thought I'd do a little research....and sure enough, he was correct.  I thought this was really interesting....

By the 1850's, Nashville had already earned the nickname of the "Athens of the South" by having established numerous higher education institutions as well as being the first Southern City to establish a public school system.
Behold the Parthenon---in Nashville.  Who knew?  Yes, there is a life size replica of the Parthenon built in 1898 for an Exposition and refurbished in the last ten years.  Built to the exact specifications of the original, complete with 90 foot stature inside of -----a solid gold Athena!!!
This is the inside of the Parthenon.'s a little creepy, but kind of neat. 
You can't really see in detail, but she's holding Nike in one hand, and her shield in the other.  She even has white skin and blue eyes.
Now, you may be wondering how the Parthenon ended up in a field in Centennial Park in Nashville.  But apparently it goes back to the fact that Nashville with its famous University (Vanderbilt) had come to be called the Athens of the South a center for philpsophy and learning --hence the building of the Parthenon, hence the 90 foot golden girl inside.  Yes, there is a difference between a construction made out of limestone and marble (the original), and the Nashville Parthenon out of reinforced concrete...a truly modern medium.  But hey, if you can't afford to go to Greece and see the original one...then come on down to Nashville...


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